Musk says Neuralink is six months away from human test

  • Initially planned for 31st October, Elon Musk pushed back the update on Neuralink to 30th November. 
  • Said update happened last night, with Musk noting that the company could place an implant in a human test subject within the next six months.
  • Musk also floated the idea that he would implant a Neuralink in his own brain.

Last night Elon Musk, along with a handful of scientists, presented an update on Neuralink and its brain implants. Said update was initially planned for 31st October, but was pushed back to 30th November as Musk wrapped up his purchase of Twitter.

As for the presentation itself, Musk explained the short-term and long-term goals of Neuralink. The former is an input/output (I/O) platform that can communicate with a specific part of the brain with the intention of addressing debilitating diseases or conditions.

Further down the line, the objective is to have a platform that can communicate with the entire brain and facilitate several generalised artificial intelligence.

If you lumped such talk into the category of science fiction, no one would blame you, but according to Musk, Neuralink is far closer to its short-term objectives than you may think.

To that end, one of the headline grabbing comments made during the presentation by Musk, was that the company could be ready to place an implant inside of a human test subject within the next six months. That process would need the sign off from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which The Verge points out as regulating medical devices in the country.

As such, Musk’s original goal of performing human tests with Neuralink in 2020, will now likely happen in 2023. That said, much of this hinges on the FDA giving its approval, especially given how radical this idea is.

Thus far, Neuralink has only shown the system working on a monkey, using it to play a game of Pong. During the presentation, however, said monkeys are now shown using the neuralink to interact with wireless devices like keyboards in order to type messages. In a slightly publicity stunt-y way, the monkey typed out the phrase “welcome to show and tell” using the Neuralink implant.

Those tuning into the presentation, which you can watch as a recap here, also saw a bit more regarding the Neuralink devices themselves, which resemble a series of threads that are implanted into the brain. Researchers at the company say roughly 64 can be implanted in about 15 minutes, although we’re not sure if speed is the goal here.

While Musk and co. are hoping to get started with human tests in the next six months, it still remains to be seen how effective these implants will be at tackling brain-related diseases and conditions in humans.

Once more information in that regard is shared by the company, then people can truly begin to get excited, instead of simply fanboying over Musk and Pong-playing monkeys.

With Neuralink noting that last night’s event was aimed at helping to recruit much-needed skills for jobs at the company, we’ll have to wait to see what transpires over the coming years.

[Image – Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash]


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